MidCentral District Health Board Chief executive Kathryn Cook said over the April to June 2016 quarter, MDHB sustained the national health target goal for more heart and diabetes checks, achieved the expected increase in the number of patients discharged following elective surgery, and our immunisation coverage rate returned to target level.
She said while we met the national goals for providing help to quit smoking for patients admitted to hospital and for pregnant women seen by Lead Maternity Carers, our result fell slightly for those patients seen in the primary healthcare setting. Our performance for shorter stays in the Emergency Department and for faster cancer treatment rates fell below the health goals over this last quarter. Results for all 20 DHBs were released today.
A summary of our results for the April to June quarter across all the national health targets is provided below.
While there were just over 10,000 (94 percent) people admitted, transferred or discharged from the Emergency Department (ED) within six hours over this quarter, we did not reach the national health target goal of 95 percent of all patients attending the department having shorter stays. Our result this quarter was the same as the national average.
We have had a large (8.5 percent) increase in the number of people presenting to ED over the past 12 months compared to last year with 43,783 attendances. Just over 30 percent of these attendances at ED ended with patients being admitted to hospital – an eight percent increase, (958 more people).
Over this quarter, 2217 patients were discharged following their elective or arranged surgery, bringing the total number of planned surgical discharges to 7956 over the year. This was an excellent result, being well above our planned target by 406 discharges (5.4 percent above our target for the year). While the majority (85 percent) of patients had their surgery at Palmerston North Hospital, 1073 patients had their planned specialist surgery at Wellington, Hutt Valley or Auckland Hospitals.
We continue to work toward achieving the national target for faster cancer treatment. Of the 106 patients who received their first cancer treatment (or other management) in the six months to the end of June 2016, 75 (71 percent) received their treatment within 62 days of being referred. This was a reduction in the result compared to last quarter (77 percent) influenced by a particularly low result in January, and an increase in the number of people appropriately identified with a high suspicion of cancer at referral. Several projects are being undertaken to look at improvements that can be made in the referral and treatment pathway so that more eligible patients can receive faster cancer treatment. The national average for this latest period reduced to 74 percent.
Our immunisation coverage rate returned to achieving the national health target goal this quarter with 95 percent of the 546 eligible eight-month-old infants being fully immunised on time. Over the year, 2007 infants in our district were fully immunised by their milestone age – an excellent coverage rate sustained over the 12 months, helping to reduce the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases in our community. The national average coverage rate was sustained at 93 percent of the eligible infants over the quarter.
Our result for offering brief advice and support to quit smoking for patients enrolled with the Central Primary Health Organisation fell slightly over this quarter to 87 percent (19,368) of 22,262 people aged 15 to 74 years old who smoke. The national average increased slightly to 88 percent. We continue to work with our general practice teams and smoking cessation service to improve our performance.
We continued to achieve the national goal for hospitalised patients with 1241 (96 percent) of 1299 patients identified as current smokers over this quarter having been offered brief advice and support to quit smoking– exceeding target. For the third component of the ‘better help for smokers to quit’ health target, 429 pregnant women were seen by Lead Maternity Carers (LMCs) over this quarter, of whom 66 were identified as current smokers; 97 percent (64) were offered brief advice and support to quit – a much improved result on last quarter.
(Note the results for the maternity and hospital components of this health target are not published in the chart below, but are reported on the Ministry’s website).
The proportion of our population that have had their risk for cardiovascular disease assessed in the last five years was much the same as last quarter – achieving target. Of the 48,607 eligible enrolled adults expected to have had an assessment by the end of June, 43,869 (90 percent) had had their risk for cardiovascular disease assessed. The national rate increased slightly this quarter to 91 percent. The Ministry of Health has noted that this will be the last time this measure is published as a national health target. However, it will continue to be measured as a policy priority area and will have a particular focus on lifting the rates for Māori men, for whom the coverage rate for cardiovascular risk assessments continue to be below expectations.